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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Balak

Leadership for Self-Reliance

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 29, 2023

Originally Published June 2015 Transitions are hard. As the wandering in the desert begins to draw to a close, Bnei Yisrael encounter many changes and anticipate many more. Their leaders begin to die: Miriam and Aharon this week and Moshe a few months later.…

How to Live a Long Life

by Rabbi Daniel Epstein
Posted on June 29, 2023

Do you want time to go fast or slow? Time flies when you are having fun. Dunbar in Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 decides he wants his life to be as boring as possible so that he will live a very long time.…

Ma Tovu: Sanctity and Sacredness in our Communal Spaces

by Rabbi Yonah Berman
Posted on July 14, 2022

I recently traveled to Poland with a group of students from our Yeshiva. Our main goals were to help members of the Polish Jewish community prepare for Passover and to provide assistance to Ukrainian refugees, Jewish and non Jewish, as they crossed the border, fleeing the Russian invasion of their country.…

Believing is Seeing

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on June 24, 2021

The rabbis tell us in Pirkei Avot (5:22) “Whoever has….an ayin tova, a good eye….is a student of Avraham; whoever has an ayin ra’ah, a bad eye….is a student of Balaam.” Avraham sees well, whereas Balaam sees poorly. How so? On the face of it, the stories of Avraham and Balaam are parallel.…

Encounters with Fear: Parshat Balak

by Rabbi Ezra Seligsohn
Posted on July 18, 2019

One of the wonderful perks of having an entire Parsha dedicated to Balak and Bilam’s plot, are the numerous parallels that one finds with the stories of our Avot. At first glance every story in Tanach has references and connections all over Tanach — and yet, upon review, the Bilam story is unique.…

Bilam and His Prophecies: “Fallen Down and With Open Eyes”

by Miriam Gedwiser
Posted on July 5, 2017

To view the sources for this shiur click here and here.  …

Parshat Balak: Midrash and Archaeology in the Talmudic Village

by Dr. Steven Fine
Posted on October 26, 2016

Bilam’s Donkey (Hebrew)

by Rabbi Elchanan Samet
Posted on October 26, 2016

Oh, Say Can You See?

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on August 15, 2016

Speech is central in the story of Balak and Balaam, from Balaam’s blessings to the talking donkey. But as much as this parasha is about talking, it is also about seeing. “And Balak the son of Beor saw, va’yar, all that Israel had done to the Amorites.”…

The Power of Love To Conquer Hatred

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 25, 2016

Could it be that Bilaam, the gentile prophet, saddled his own animal when he set forth to curse the Jews? (Numbers 22:21). For someone of his stature, a prophet, it certainly seems beneath his dignity. Ibn Ezra, who is known for his literal readings of the Torah goes against his usual trend and offers a non-literal interpretation.…

Children Should Not Be Punished for the Sins of Their Parents

by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Posted on May 21, 2016

In this week’s portion, Balak King of Moab hires Bilaam to curse Israel (Numbers 22:5,6). A review of the history of Moab’s relationship with Israel reveals a terrible decline that in this portion reaches one of its lowest points. Moab is a descendant of Lot.…

Believing is Seeing

by Rabbi Dov Linzer
Posted on July 1, 2015

The Rabbis tell us in Pirkei Avot (5:22) “Whoever has….an ayin tova, a good eye….is a student of Avraham; whoever has an ayin ra’ah, a bad eye….is a student of Balaam.” Avraham sees well, whereas Balaam sees poorly. How so? On the face of it, the stories of Avraham and Balaam are parallel.…